The group on the quarter-deck

As Captain March went up the companionway after supper, he thought he
felt a puff of air across his face. Stepping out upon the deck, his
eyes instinctively turned to the northeast, from which direction he
expected the wind. A dove-colored light still shone in the eastern sky;
below it the sea was a darker color, irradiated by the glowing west.

His daughter and the young men had followed him, and now she touched
his arm.

“Isn’t that a catspaw?” she asked, and pointed northward, where a dark
film of purple seemed to roughen the long slope of a swell that shone
like pink satin. Even as they looked, the slope became a shallow bowl,
and the patch of purple faded to the uniform gray of the hollowed wave.

Captain March shook his head and sighed.

“It does beat the deuce,” he said.

This was as wide a departure from the placid philosophy with which he
looked upon life as he ever gave expression to; and his daughter and
his mate, who knew him equally well, recognized in it the extent of his
mental disturbance. To them both the prolonged calm, in the changing
twilight, took on an aspect of uncanniness. It was as if they stood
absolutely alone, the last of living things, in a chaos of dead waters,
under the sweeping throng of stars, which saw not and heeded not the
blotting out of their small world. Tacitly both had agreed to give no
sign of their changed relations so long as they were compelled to meet

Medbury slipped away forward for a turn about the deck. He looked at
the lights to see if they were in order.

“They might as well be kept burning,” he muttered, “though God knows
what good they are.”

Back on the quarter-deck, when he returned from his round, he found the
others leaning over the rail in silence. It had suddenly grown dark,
and a haze had come up, obscuring the stars and the sea. He paused near
Hetty, who looked up, smiled, and made room for him.

“We thought we heard the beat of a steamer’s paddle just now,” she
said. “Listen!”

He leaned over the rail beside her, but for a long time heard nothing
but the whine of spars, the rattle of the main-sheet blocks as the boom
swung them taut, and the jump of the wheel in its becket. At intervals
there came the sound of water dripping from the channels or spouting
from the scuppers. These sounds seemed to make more acute the silence
of the sea, which seemed like a living, threatening presence. At last
Medbury stood up.

“There’s nothing,” he said.

“Listen!” said Hetty, in a low voice, and again he dropped his elbows
to the rail.

Suddenly there came a quick succession of muffled throbs, like the
far-off churning sound of a steamer’s paddle-wheel; then it ceased as
absolutely as if a door had been closed noiselessly upon it.

“There!” cried Hetty.

Fully ten minutes passed before they heard it again.

“It’s queer,” said Medbury. “There wasn’t a sign of a steamer in sight
at sunset. She must be far away, and we hear her only when we’re both
on the top of a swell. Sound carries a long way on a night like this.”

Captain March straightened up.

“Bring me the glasses, Mr. Medbury,” he said.

Medbury brought them, and the captain slowly swept the horizon; then
he crossed the deck and walked to the main-rigging. Coming back, he
handed the glasses to Medbury.

“Go forward and take a look,” he said.

In five minutes the mate came back, and went up the main-rigging to the
crosstrees. When he descended, he came aft.

“It’s getting thick,” he said; “she ought to blow her whistle.”

“Better get your fog-horn forward,” said the captain, and took the
glasses for another look as Medbury went below. A moment later the
mate returned to the deck with the long box of the patent fog-horn,
and presently the dreary wail began to sound at intervals from the
forecastle-deck. Hetty shivered as she heard it.

“It frightens me!” she murmured, with a little catch in her voice. “It
frightens me!”

The crew were at the rail forward, silent and listening. The fog had
blotted out the fore part of the vessel, but the forecastle door was
open, and the swinging lamp was like an orange center of light in a
nebulous haze. Once a sailor passed before it, and his shape loomed
black and huge against the luminous interior. At short intervals the
fog-horn sounded like a wailing banshee through the darkness; but there
was no answering signal: only at long intervals came that strange,
throbbing beat, like an uncanny chuckle, but seemingly neither nearer
nor farther away than at first. Hardly two aboard agreed as to its
direction, for the opaque walls of fog deflect sound-waves at sea, as a
crystal breaks a ray of light.

Back on the quarter-deck Medbury was telling a curious story.

“Two years ago,” he began slowly, with the hesitation of a man who
feels moved to confidence against his better judgment, “we were running
up the straits to Singapore, when it suddenly came on thick. We were
close-hauled and had just about wind enough for steerageway, and we had
the fog-horn going and were keeping a sharp lookout, for we were right
in the track of shipping, and you know how vessels drift together in
a fog, no matter which way they were heading before it thickened up.
Well, we hadn’t heard a peep all day, and toward night it seemed to be
lifting a little, when I heard the man at the wheel give a little cry,
and, looking astern, there, not a cable’s length away, was a dingy,
raveled-out, full-rigged Portuguese brig slipping right across our
wake. They hadn’t made a sound, and they didn’t even then, though our
old man got black in the face with cursing them for their sins. There
was a black-whiskered old fellow, with his coat-collar turned up about
his ears, at the wheel; but he scarcely looked our direction: only once
he wagged his beard at us, and threw one arm over his head in a funny
way, and then squinted aloft again, paying no more attention to us
than if we’d been so much seaweed. But just forward the fore-rigging
there was a row of sailormen leaning over the rail, and their eyes
followed us like a lot of beady birds’ eyes till the fog swallowed them
up again. Well, the day after we reached Singapore the old man came
aboard in a brown study. He said he’d heard ashore that there’d been
a lot of dirty weather knocking about the straits, and a Portuguese
brig called the _Villa Real_ was forty days overdue. Well, she stayed
overdue, and not a splinter or spun-yarn of her ever came ashore.” He
paused a moment to relight his pipe, and then added: “On the stern of
the Portuguese brig that we had seen, in big white letters a foot high,
was the name _Villa Real_.”

In the silence that followed some one forward gave a low laugh; in the
fog it sounded strange and unnatural.

“Did you ever hear a loon cry alongshore at night?” asked Medbury. For
the first time on the voyage he had become actually loquacious. “I used
to hear them at home when I was a boy. It’s a creepy sound, and makes a
man feel lonesome and homesick.” He paused, as if half-ashamed of the
confession, but went on, with a boyish chuckle: “Somehow, that fellow’s
laugh made me think of it, though I can’t say it sounded like a loon,
either. It’s queer how one thing’ll suggest another that isn’t at all
like it.”

“It sounded strange to me, too,” confessed Hetty.

“Did it?” he said, turning to her. “Well, that’s funny.”

“Knocking about in fog and storm, without sleep, a sailor gets queer
notions in his head at times,” said Captain March, slowly. “Now I had a
little experience once that seemed queer at the time, though I suppose
it was natural enough, if you only knew how to explain it. You know
what queer shapes will sometimes loom up at night; but walk right
up to ’em and you find it’s nothing but a stump or a white post or
something. Well, the first vessel I ever had was the schooner _Sarah
J. Mason_. I was pretty young at the time, and I guess I was a bit
nervous, but it does seem yet as if that first voyage as master was
the roughest I’ve ever had. I had chartered for Para, and we struck
dirty weather almost from the first. About eight days out the wind
came out ahead, light and baffling, and I got her topsails on for the
first time. But along after sundown it freshened up again, and I took
’em in. A young fellow from up the State somewhere had stowed the
maintopsail, and someway, I don’t know how,–I guess he was hurrying
and a little careless; it was his watch below,–he slipped. For years
after that, when I wasn’t feeling first-rate, I used to wake up with
a start, thinking I heard his yell again. Well, it wasn’t very rough,
and we got a boat over, but it wasn’t any use. He must have gone down
like a stone. After that it was dirty weather, with scarcely a glimpse
of the sun, all the way out. I was upset and worn out, I guess; but one
night, looking aloft, I saw some one on the main-crosstrees. There was
a good-sized moon, though the sky was overcast, but light enough to
see pretty distinctly. ‘Who’s that aloft?’ says I to the second mate.
He didn’t answer much of anything, but walked to the rail and looked
up. ‘Well, call him down,’ I said sharply, and he went to the rigging,
and, standing on the rail, yelled: ‘Who’s that up there?’ Then he went
half-way up and stopped. I guess he stood there five minutes before he
came down and went forward. In a minute he came back, looking pretty
white. ‘Everybody accounted for, sir,’ he said, and his teeth were
chattering as if he had the ague.

“Now, it sounds funny, but I never looked aloft at night on that trip
without wishing I didn’t have to, and there wasn’t a sailorman aboard
who could have been driven to go up to that masthead after dark if
he’d been killed for refusing. We had fair weather coming home, and we
carried that topsail till we blew it off her one night. I was plagued
glad to see it go.”

“Talking about explaining things if you only walk right up to them,”
said Medbury–“now there ‘re some things you _can’t_ explain. Take the
old _Martha Hunter_, for instance. How are you going to explain her?”
He leaned forward and addressed his talk to Drew, who knew nothing of
the _Martha Hunter_. “She was built in Blackwater when I was a boy,” he
went on, “and before her ribs were all up Jerry Bartow fell from the
scaffolding and was killed, and Tom Martin nearly cut his foot off with
an adze while he was trimming a stick of timber that went into her.
It went in with the stain of his blood on it, and it wasn’t the last
stain of the kind that she carried before she was through. Oh, she
was greedy for that sort of thing! When she was launched she must have
got the notion that she was designed to dig out a new channel in the
harbor, for she fetched bottom and carried away her rudder; and before
the year was out she came off the Boston mud-banks so badly hogged that
she looked as if she’d got her sheer on upside down. It wasn’t long
before a sailorman fell from aloft and was killed on her deck; and
the very next trip, in warping her out of her berth in Wareham, the
hawser parted and broke the leg of the man who was holding turn at the
capstan. Cap’n Silas Hawkins brought her home to overhaul, and the very
first day he walked down the main-hatchway and was killed. Why, she
used to drag ashore in any sort of a white-ash breeze; and if there was
any dirty weather knocking about, she always managed to run her nose
into it, and would come limping home like a disreputable old girl out
on a lark. You could have filled a book with the stories of the men
she lost or maimed, and the trouble she got into first and last. But
she was fortunate in a way, too, for she made money, and you couldn’t
lose her. I guess she’s running yet.”

“I saw her a year ago last fall,” said Captain March. “I haven’t heard
anything startling about her since, so I guess she’s going.”

“Well,” said Medbury, “how are you going to explain her, and others
like her? I’m not superstitious, or any more so than the common run of
folks; but things like that–” He shrugged his shoulders and laughed,
then, dropping his elbows to the rail again, turned to listen.

For a long time they had not noticed the sound that puzzled them, and
now, in the silence, they remembered it again, and strained their ears
to catch it once more. The fog-horn boomed out at regular intervals;
only the noises of the rolling brig were also heard.

While they still stood listening, all at once Medbury thought he felt
a puff of wind. Yet it was not so much wind as it was a suggestion of
wind: it seemed to him that a hand, wet and cold, had been thrust close
to his face and then withdrawn. He could not explain the chill that
seemed to run through his frame. Then he shook off the feeling, and
turned to Captain March.

“Did you feel a puff, sir?” he asked, and held his finger above his

“No,” replied the captain. “If we get a stir of air, I’ll put the
canvas on her. I don’t want to slat the sails all to pieces, but if we
get enough for steerageway, we’ll try it. I don’t like loafing about in
a fog like this with my hands in my pockets.”

Then, even while he was speaking, out of the darkness and the fog and
the subdued murmurs of the ocean, without other warning than the
intangible beat that had mystified them, a long roller came sweeping
in, lifted them in its mighty arms, slipped past, and dropped them with
a shock that shook the brig, and forced a cry from the lips of every
soul aboard.

The group on the quarter-deck staggered together in a huddled bunch,
then fell apart as Medbury and the captain slipped out and ran forward.
Then the brig rose on another swell, and came up bumping, with a
snarling sound along the fore-chains.

“It’s some barnacled old derelict,” Medbury turned to shout to the
captain, who was following him with surprising swiftness, but with
short, quick strides, like a waddling duck, and breathing heavily.
Medbury was on the rail, peering over into the darkness, when the
captain reached the fore-rigging. A group of sailors huddled about the

“Here, you,” called Captain March, “get fenders quick! Bring that spare
royal-yard–anything!” Then he lifted himself into the rigging by
Medbury’s side. The next minute he was calling for a lantern and the

They quickly had the yard and some planks lashed over the side, though
they knew that such protections were almost futile in the lift of the
swell that was then running. Under the light of the flare, gray and
almost invisible in the thick night, awash at one moment, at the next
showing a jagged line of railless stanchions, they saw the derelict
lying almost parallel with them. With the flare in his hand, Medbury
lowered himself down to the channel, looking for the place of contact.
Forward of the chains the side of the brig was badly scraped, and a
part of the channel was splintered; but they could see no other injury.

“Lucky she didn’t come under us when we dropped,” Medbury said.

“She may yet,” replied the captain. He straightened up, and held his
hand above his head. There was not a breath of air stirring. He turned
to the mate again. “Get a boat over the side quick, Mr. Medbury,” he
said; “we’ve got to pull out of this.”

They swung the boat off the center-house, and with difficulty, in the
heavy swell, got her over the side and away, with Medbury and five
of the men as her crew. A line was paid out to them, and run through
a forward chock and passed about the capstan. Standing by the port
cathead, Captain March “held turn.”

“Don’t know what may happen,” he said aloud to himself. “I’d better
keep a hold o’ this in this swell.” He sent a man up to the top with
a lantern, and the second mate to the wheel. “Straight ahead, now!”
he roared to the boat. “We don’t want to swing her counter over it.
Straight ahead, now, you!”

He could hear the thud of the oars in the rowlocks and their irregular
beat on the water, for rowing in the swell was hard; but he could hear,
too, the _zip! zip!_ of the line as it tautened, and then the splash as
it dropped slack. At times the two hulls came together with a jar, but
with no great shock after the first.

Drew had come forward, and once he asked the captain if he could be of
assistance. Captain March was leaning over the side, peering into the
darkness for the derelict, and had not answered. When he turned to his
line again, Drew repeated the question.

“No, no; just keep out of the way,” replied the captain, with the
impersonal contempt of the sailor for the landsman afloat in times of

They drew ahead but slowly; it was only by inches at the best, and
there were times when they fell behind as the sweep of the sea
caught them and rolled them from side to side through a wide arc.
Fortunately, they were to the leeward of the wreck, and what advantage
there was in their greater buoyancy and height above the sea added
its little to the feeble efforts of the crew of the boat. Captain
March could hear the unsteady ding-donging of the oars in the rowlocks
as Medbury urged them on. He peered over the side of the brig with
straining eyes.

“It ain’t no way to go–like this,” once he said aloud. It seemed a
trivial end, without the pomp of storm and the exaltation that comes
with the last struggle for life. He longed for the struggle for
himself, he longed for it for his vessel.

At last there came a time when he could no longer see the derelict, and
he grew restive under the uncertainty. All at once he thought he felt
a breath of air across his face. He straightened himself, and held his
hand up to the wind. It was surely a puff, and, quickly making the line
fast, he hurried aft to take the wheel.

“Get your staysails on her,” he told the second mate, as he relieved
him. “Set your maintopmast staysail first,–there’ll be a steadier air
up there,–then get your foretopmast staysail on her.” He turned to
Drew. “Just bear a hand there, will you?” he said to him.

He heard the staysail run up and the cry of the second mate to belay;
then he heard them sheeting it home.

“Not too flat, Mr. Barrett! Not too flat!” he called. “Give her an easy
sheet, so she’ll lift a little. Now up with the others!”

He saw Hetty’s face at the companionway, and glanced at her with
half-averted eyes. She was a true sailor’s daughter, he thought with
pride. He did not object to her presence, for she never worried folks
with questions. Then he called to her:

“It’s all right, my girl. Don’t you worry. Just tell your mother it’s
all right.”

He heard the staysails flap from time to time, and so began to whistle
for a wind. “Deuce take it!” he muttered, “why don’t it blow?” Every
moment or two he stepped to the rail and peered into the darkness to
note his progress. They had slowly drifted away from the wreck, the
stern of which now lay opposite the quarter-deck of the brig. The
second mate came running aft.

“Shall we brace the yards around, and try to get what canvas we can on
her, sir?” he asked.

Captain March shook his head.

“No,” he answered; “you couldn’t do much, short-handed as you are.
Maybe we’d just lose control of her. But you go forward and call to Mr.
Medbury to keep a-going–keep a-going.”

It was a quarter of an hour before the derelict’s stern was clearly
past the brig’s. Slowly the house crept past–a high house, Captain
March could now see plainly, and painted white. “Some foreigner,” he
thought with scorn, “scared to his boats before he was hurt.” He felt
all the contempt of his race and kind for timid unseafaring peoples.

Once when the wreck sank deeply in the hollow of the sea, and the swell
broke over her, she came up sputtering, and Captain March heard the
water gushing from some opening with the rhythmic _chug-chug_ of water
gurgling from a bottle.

“That’s what we heard,” he said aloud. It sounded uncanny even now. “I
guess it’s a water-butt that’s shifted over on its side and the sea
washes full,” he thought. “Well, it’s creepy enough.”

Suddenly he gave a start, for from the wreck came the faint,
unmistakable crying of a cat. He walked to the rail and listened,
muttering to himself: “The scoundrels, to leave her behind!” He stood
by the rail for a moment, and presently called: “Kitty! kitty! poor
kitty!” Then he went back to the wheel again, whistling loudly for a
wind, that he might not hear the plaintive response to his call.

For a time the situation had worn for Hetty a certain pleasurable
aspect of romance; but in the dragging moments that followed the
sending away of the boat, her nerves grew tense under the strain, and
seemed to present, as it were, sharp edges to the irritating suspense.
The low-riding wreck, awash at one moment, at the next looming
threateningly above them, showing its jagged outlines uncertainly
through the enlarging fog, took on an aspect wholly sinister. With only
the desire to get beyond sight of it, she crossed to the starboard
main-rigging, and gazed steadily out across the vaporous expanse of the
windless sea.

Her resolute refusal to watch the derelict took on, in her mind,
something of the character of a senseless game with her fear: she told
herself that she would count two hundred before she looked to see if
it were farther away, then five hundred; after that she resolved not to
look until she heard a footstep or a voice. The latter task, unrelieved
by the mechanically mental exertion of the whispered numbers, became
speedily unbearable, and she began to count again. Presently a step
sounded on the deck near her. In the tension of the moment she looked
up, dangerously near to hysteria.

It was, of course, Drew, the only idle man aboard.

“We have passed it,” he said gaily.

Her hand was resting against the rigging, and now, as he spoke, in a
revulsion of feeling she laid her forehead against it and laughed.

“You poor child!” he murmured.

At that she lifted her head quickly and said:

“The whole night has been so unreal–that strange sound, the fog, our
ghost talk, and this danger–” She looked past him in a strange mental
relaxation, feeling the inadequacy of words to convey her immeasurable

“It has been hard for you,” he said gently. “I thought of you, and
wished that I might help you, but I’m a helpless creature here.” He

No one else had come near her or thought of her, she told herself
unreasonably; and now she turned upon him the frank, open look of a

“You do help me,” she said.

Alone in that strange calm, but barely escaped from a grave danger,
they looked at each other for a moment through the distorting glass of
their common isolation. Suddenly he moved toward her.

“Then may it not be for always?” he whispered. He could gather no other
meaning from Medbury’s speech at sunset than that he had given up all
hope. He himself was free to speak at last. Yet he must have spoken in
any case.

She gave a little backward spring, and laid hold of the shrouds with a
hand that trembled.

“Not that!” she gasped. “Oh, I didn’t mean that!”

“But I mean it,” he urged. “Try to think of it favorably. You know the
work I desire: let us work together. Life would mean so much to me with
you near! And for you–it would be in the path of your own desires, to
work among the poor.”

For a moment it seemed like an open door to her hopes.

“I had thought of your work since you spoke of it,” she said in a low
voice; “and I wondered if they would let me try that–alone, of course,
I mean,” she added with pretty confusion. “I should like to do some
good in the world. I seem so useless now. It gave me a new hope.”

“And I,” he urged–“do not put me apart from it!”

She had put him apart from it, she thought. She laid her hand upon the
shrouds and dropped her face to it for a moment.

“Oh, I cannot tell!” she whispered.

“Do not try to tell now,” he said. “Wait! It–”

Then sharply across their absorption they heard her father calling to
the second mate to order in the boat. Without a word, she slipped aft.

As the boat drew near, Captain March went to the rail.

“They’ve left a cat aboard,” he called to Medbury. “She’s forward. I
shouldn’t like to leave even a cat like that.” Then he added, as if to
show that his humanity was dictated more by reason than by sentiment,
“It seems unlucky–as if _we’d_ left her.”

“All right, sir,” Medbury replied; “I’ll get her.”

“Well, don’t get stove. Just as soon as you come aboard, we’ll make
sail. There’s a little air stirring.”

As the boat swung away behind them, the captain told the second mate
to rig and sound the pumps. The brig was unusually tight, and it was
with no uneasiness that he gave the order, which he considered merely

The first half-dozen strokes told a different tale. He was stooping
to grip the spokes of the wheel when the first rush of water sounded
on the deck, and its fullness stopped him like a blow in the face.
Instantly he blew his whistle over the stern, and called to Medbury to
come aboard at once. He heard Medbury’s “Aye, aye, sir,” and called to
the second mate for a lantern. It was already on the quarter-deck when
the boat swung out of the darkness in under the stern.

“We got her,” Medbury called out, but Captain March made no reply. He
swung the lantern down toward the boat by a lanyard.

“Find where we struck,” he said, and, giving the wheel to the second
mate, hurried forward.

He was standing on the fore-channel when Medbury brought the boat up,
and, going as near as he dared, held the lantern over the side.

“There!” cried Medbury as the light of the lantern flashed over the
scarred and abraded spots that they had already noted; but Captain
March shook his head impatiently.

“No,” he said curtly; “lower down. Watch when she rises.”

The lantern shed a wan light upon the oily sea and the glistening black
hull. Five times the brig rose and fell on the easy rollers; then she
leaped to a great height, and for an instant, below the bilge, they
caught sight of a jagged stretch of copper, torn, and shrunken like a
withered apple. One glance showed that nothing could be done.

They had the boat over the side again in an incredibly short time.
As he was rigging the fall to hoist her to her old place on the
center-house, Medbury hesitated, and then hurried aft.

“Shall I lash the boat on deck, sir?” he asked, adding significantly:
“We may need it.”

“No, sir,” replied the captain; “hoist it to its place. I don’t make
preparations to abandon my ship till I’ve done something to save her.
Besides, I want the boat in the safest place if I’ve got to use it,
after all. But I’m not thinking of that yet.”

It was not long before the wind was coming out of the northeast in
quicker and stronger puffs, and, under every thread of canvas, they
began to forge ahead to the dismal clank of the pumps. There was no
question of breaking out the cargo, and trying to patch the leak
from the inside. It was to be a rush for port, to the music of the

Medbury and Drew were standing by the port rail at four bells when
Captain March came on deck from a study of his chart. He glanced aloft,
looked to windward, then at his binnacle.

“Ease the sheets a little, Mr. Medbury,” he said, “and keep her off
half a point.” He gave the course, then added: “Change the men at the
pumps every hour; we’ll all have to take a hand at it before it’s over.
The wind’s freshening fast, and that’s our chance. We’ve got to carry
everything to-night. Call me in an hour.”

He was going down the companionway when Medbury called to him.

“That vessel was burned, sir,” he said. He held up his hands, blackened
with the charred wood.

“You don’t say!” exclaimed the captain. “How did that cat happen to

“Somehow she got forward, and the fire spread aft. It was the only spot
untouched–the forecastle-deck.”

“What did you do with her?” asked the captain. “I forgot all about her.”

“Oh, I gave her to the steward; she was half-starved.”

“All right,” said the captain; “all right.” Then he went below. It was
the last bit of sleep he was to get for many an hour.

With started sheets and a freshening breeze, the brig began the song
of the road. The laced foam went hissing past her sides, flecked here
and there with spots of phosphorescent light; under her fore-foot was
the growl of the heaped-up, rolling wave; now and then the shock of a
higher sea, thrown back from her bows in a smother of spray, shook her
from stem to stern. The fog had gone with the coming of wind, but the
rack, like a flock of birds, swept by overhead. The wind began to sigh
and whine in the rigging; with a tremulous, muffled roar the canvas
strained and thundered: but through every other noise, insistent,
penetrating, sounded the steady thump of the pumps and the rush of
water from the spouts.

Once Medbury came aft after changing the men at the pumps, and stopped
at the corner of the house to look aloft; he had felt the deck swinging
wide under his feet.

“Steady, man! steady!” he called to the man at the wheel. “Don’t let
her yaw!”

He watched the sails for a moment, turning at last with a sigh of
satisfaction to Drew, who was standing near.

“She’s picking up her skirts like a little lady,” he said. His tone was
almost exultant.

“It’s good to feel the rush of movement again,” said Drew; “but I’m a
little bewildered yet, it has come and gone so quickly–this strange

“That’s the way with things at sea,” replied Medbury. “We’re always
expecting things to happen, and surprised when they come. But I don’t
know as it’s much different with life in general,” he added gloomily.
“Trust in nothing–that’s the only way to escape being disappointed.
Trust in nothing, and be prepared for the worst.”